Posts Tagged ‘Poem’

  The Long Second.



The truck came out of nowhere.

A full stop, period, to a life that had been hitherto full of spelling mistakes but was still being written well.

My bike glanced off the truck’s shiny grey bumper, as insignificant as a fly swatted by an elephant.

I flew.

The long second.

As I spun high over the roof, a coin flip as to which side I would land on – life or the other, time slowed to a standstill.

The fever of life cooled by a chrome-coloured ice-bath. Where moments had passed before as a raging torrent, this moment became a frozen glacier.

My brain registered no pain, too soon.

My body felt no shock, too fast.

There was only a remembrance. My mind became razor sharp, diamond focus, as if every lazy thought I’d ever had became a pinpoint laser – a single thought: –

… There is a tax on life. A balance that must be paid, like it or no. If you’re lucky to live long enough beyond that initial thrusting of youth, where your obsession with always being busy is a mark of success and the need to convince everyone you’re having the time of your life makes you wear a mask, then you’ll feel it too.

Neither positive nor negative is this tax, it just is – you could see it as Angels wiping away the tears from your eyes or as Demons rubbing salt under your eyelids, your wounds… your choice – neither is real though.

Good times; Bad times, all are One.

For every action there is a reaction.

Every cause an effect.

Only at the end do you see, looking back in that long second, that it has all balanced out and we exit, even.

Tax paid.

Balance = Zero.


The Revolving Door


“Step into the light, yes, that’s it, nearly there, let me get a good look at you… Welcome…”

The voice was familiar and reassuring, the very sound of love itself. She entered the hospital room as quiet and soft as a silk scarf sliding down a banister, but a slap on the back released the fluid she’d been breathing those past 9 months and begat a scream of creation, a mix of joy at being alive and horror at being born.

In a nearby hospital cubicle her great-grandfather heard the same voice, still familiar despite the passage of 93 years:

“Step into the light, yes that’s it, nearly there, let me get a good look at you… Welcome home…”

This time there was no screaming accompanying the pat on the back, only a fulfilled and grateful exhale of breath so soft that even the nurses rushing round him couldn’t hear it.

“One in ; one out.”

Outside in the afternoon sun people went about their business as usual, car horns honked, dogs barked, and the breeze blew through the revolving door carrying on it secret messages.

Our buzzing planet, so crammed full of unstoppable life continued to revolve uninterrupted in the infinite and empty silence of dead space ; much the same as the Entrance & Exit door of the hospital which my waiting family now rushed through…

This is the Size of a Heart

Posted: May 27, 2013 in Poem, Poetry
Tags: , ,

This is the Size of a Heart.


This is the size of a heart  – in case you were curious.

About the size of a hard fist of coal – to explain it in terms you would understand.

It is soft and wet on the outside – could you ever imagine that?

I doubt it.


Inside,  fragile pathways and secret chambers – imprisoned in a bone cage.

These hot, glistening walls throb in darkness to electric rhythm.

This is the sound of a heart – beaten, still beating.

I hear it.

Pity Party


You are cordially invited to the first annual Pity Party.

Come one ; Come all*

(*All entrants must be over the age of 35 with ID to gain admittance.)

All refreshments will be provided:  a salt water punch made from the tears of middle-aged men and women who’ve just woken up to realise that their first instincts all those years ago as teenagers were correct – they ARE fools.

There will be a finger buffet of stale wet bread served with wrinkles and flab. Hot charred bingo wings and beer bellies marinated in despair. For vegetarians there will be a salad of fear with a disappointment dressing.

The dress code is informal: Come as you are, not as you want to be.

There will be party games. Everyone must bring their own personal sack of misery, stored whichever way suits them best: a monkey on your back, a leaden backpack weighed down by stones pulled out of rivers you never had the guts to walk through.

Ladies: bring the make-up case full of the artificial faces you spent $$$$ needlessly creating only to be washed away each night before you went to bed. Bring the dresses that no longer fit you but you promised yourself one day would again. Gentlemen: bring the comb you wished you still needed and the empty wallet once bursting with borrowed money. Both, fill your pockets with the broken dreams and desiccated plans that once got you out of bed but now just weigh you down like so much small change. Stick your ancient fake smiles now cracked and unusable into your suit pockets; throw in your unused and dried up wombs. Bring along all the things you’re trying to hide, all the inexcusable and unlovable secrets. Relax and take an evening off from convincing the world how ‘fabulous’ everything is because, let’s face it, you aren’t fooling anyone anymore.

Etiquette must be observed at all times: Don’t walk away. Don’t pre-judge anyone else’s misery pile unless they have taken their shoes off for you to walk around for a mile in.

Upon hearing the gong sound, all misery must be placed into a large pile in the centre of the room, a true bonfire of the vanities, a yard sale for the soul. And then once we all feel loosened up and relaxed enough, we’ll have a poke around in the entrails, picking out, comparing, choosing which of each others misery we’d like to take back with us in exchange for our own. A baby shower of unwanted gifts for the slowly dying.

It’s going to be a great night, I trust you will be able join us…



‘Doctor, Doctor, Doc…’

She turns to me as if her controller has suddenly left the room and she can speak freely for a few seconds.

‘…I can’t find myself…’

I ask her to take off her shoes, lean back on the couch and let it all come out in her own time, naturally.

‘…Sometimes I can see, you know, really see why everyone does everything,‘ she leans her head up a little to take the glass of water. A few sips then back down again, her eyes looking up at a forgotten bit of cobweb hanging from the light.

‘Other-times I don’t even know why I do things. It seems to me that people go to therapists to try to find out who they are. Who this thing is that their parents created in the big bang and stuck a name to. This self  they’re expected to pilot; this meatsack that had a unique soul pumped into it, nurtured till puberty then set-off like a clockwork toy to march through eighty years of unasked-for existence?’

She digs the nape of her neck into the cushion feeling the soft give of the cold leather as she closes her eyes and tries to locate her real self with an internal sonar sweeping every corner. Ping, Ping, Ping, all coming back as so much empty gristle.

‘Where is me? In my kidneys, in my heart, in the blood that pumps round my body? Where am I hiding…? Why am I even hiding..?’ she asks.

I watch the fine lines on her face constrict and relax, her eyeballs scanning left and right under her eyelids, processing a thousand thoughts at once. She searches for answers to self-created questions, each popping like corn in a contained steel skillet. Outside a car horn is heard as the traffic speeds past my window, human racing, taking pride in being so busy.

She tells me about the article she read in the foyer whilst waiting to be called in, she’s thinking about what it told her:  How the human body is 97% water and how that the water is replaced molecule by molecule every seven days. How every single cell in a person’s body dies and is reproduced about once every seven years.

So where is her self hiding if every atom of her being is changing on such a regular basis, she asks?

I see her hands move up over her head gripping the headrest, carefully manicured fingernails digging in.

‘Maybe this is proof of my soul, something beyond the meat, the chemical impulses and electricity?’

Our session is up. I watch her put her shoes back on and close the door gently and quietly behind her, trying not to wake any secrets from their slumber.

I want to look into your eyes and see myself in there, I want to see in your eyes that you feel the same.

The perfect balance between us simple and completing.

I want the two of us to just sit there without a word needing to be spoken. Looking…knowing…still dreaming…

The amniotic silence.

And in the silence we just stare, feeling the electricity like static after a storm, or the gentle hum of pylons in a quiet field. A river of warm love flowing between us, through us, out of us and back in again.

I want to transfer a thousand ideas into your mind; a thousand emotions revealing how much I care for you.

I want to talk a book of honest words between us without drawing breath and opening our lips.

A holy communion of communication.

Your eyes reciprocating, telling me your silent truth, your words, your wonder…

And then after, not a word spoken but an ocean crossed.

On/Off, Up/Down, Don’t Walk/Walk.

Walk with me…

I want to walk in early evening summer forests with you, talking about the real things.

I want to walk deep, deeper into the forest than we’ve ever walked before. Walking close, our hands occasionally brushing. I want to feel connected to you and to the forest that burns in the fever of life around us, and we not as observers but as celebrants let the energy of existence flood through us.

I want to hear our voices lose their harsher edges and become rounded by the deep and absorbent green moss growing all around us. Each sentence spoken given its own natural punctuation by the crackle of distant bonfires, old dry oak logs splitting and spitting in the white heat, the brittle and sharp sound snapping out against the surrounding trees, noise pinging off the trunks like a sonic pinball, the blueish smoke that accompanies it smooth and natural on our nostrils.

Looking up the smoke hangs in the air like a delicate mist, the orange sunlight weaker now as the approaching dusk gives the smoke the illusion of jungle rainforest steam leeching off the verdant leaves, wispy fingers delicately stroking the fronds.  I want to discover secret trails through the undergrowth, crouching and shuffling low under ancient gnarled branches twisting around us as we climb through to the deepest parts of the forest. The hidden heart.

What light gets through silhouettes the branches like brain stems over-arching us. The air gets damper as the green heart of the centre slowly reveals itself, sinewy roots and branches thick like veins now. Despite the exertion, sweat is now starting to cool and stick to our tops, moonlit mint on still shiny backs.  The canopy closes over us like hands locked in prayer. The sun sets, the temperature immediately drops, the birds increase their chatter sending out final messages before the total darkness and the shadows win.

And here at the very centre amidst the pine cones and kindling, we will sit and play chess again. ‘Id’ & Ego, black & white, heads and tails throwing everything in to find the balance that is at the centre of everything. I can’t explain it but as sure as I know the sun will rise tomorrow so I know there is balance on a comic scale. I don’t know if that’s an objective truth or a subjective one, but human brains are constructed to be dual and conflicted: left hemisphere pitted against right hemisphere each acting as a sounding board as a double-act throwing ideas off each other till they arrive at the funny. Real Self v. Ego slugging it out, an eighty-year bout inside the brain-ring of a human mind as internally divided by design as Heaven & Hell. Locked in a stale-mate battle for supremacy of reality during the day, but always slapping each other on the back and going off for a drink at curtain down, once the director calls ‘cut’ and eyelids close. After all, what’s one hand clapping in an empty forest?

Whether sun and moon, good and evil, night, day, north/south pole, husband/wife, the asleep, the awake, the hot the cold: the truth be told, there is always the balance. At the centre of all of us sits our divided selves playing chess on the eternal board of enlightenment, Tic Tac Toe…

My move again…